Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Introducing solid foods

Today I bought a sweet potato and a Keekaroo high chair. Tomorrow I will purée that sweet potato, and my little paleo baby will have her first official taste of solid food.

Our new Keekaroo high chair, scheduled to arrive on Friday!

I kinda wanted to put this off. In fact, I had considered breastfeeding exclusively for her first year. I love breastfeeding my baby, and figured that as long as it was meeting her nutritional needs that there was no rush to introduce anything else. Except now I'm thinking that it might not be meeting her nutritional needs. She's waking up hungry a lot. I mean, at this point we're lucky if we get a three-hour stretch overnight. This isn't a sleep-training issue -- it is very clear that she is hangry. Very, very hangry. Not-so-coincidentally, my milk supply also seems to be dropping off. Plus, she is now intrigued by/reaching out for our food. 

I can take a hint. At six months + one week old, my 15.5-pound baby is ready for some veggies and meat.

How exactly are we going to do this? Well, I'm not 100% sure. I totally get the philosophy behind baby-led weaning and I believe it is doable, logical and effective but I'm also not convinced it is the right choice for us. At the same time, I really don't want to feed her a mush-only diet for the next however-many months. It is all so overwhelming to me, and I think the best approach is to just kind of wing it and see where this feeding adventure takes us. So, for now, we'll start with homemade baby food (I think this is the safest and easiest route). We also have our Munchkin Fresh Food Feeders, which will be great for avocados and other fresh fruits. Once we get comfortable with the whole feeding process, we'll probably move on to regular (i.e. not puréed) foods. I'll continue to breastfeed, too, until she reaches her first birthday (approximately). In terms of her feeding schedule, I'll probably start by giving her a small amount of one single food early in the day (after nursing). We'll add more foods and feedings when we feel the time is right. And while I don't know that you really need recipes to make baby food, I'll definitely be consulting a book called Blender Baby Foods by Nicole Young for inspiration. Many of the recipes in Blender Baby Foods sound super delicious, actually. Like orange pumpkin purée and squashed apples. Mmmm. The book does encourage the consumption of grains and legumes, but it is easy enough to skip those recipes in favor of the paleo-friendly selections.

As far as fortified rice cereal, which seems to be one of the more common first foods for babies, it will not be a part of our baby's diet. Our pediatrician recommended it because babies apparently need the extra iron, but I'm not a fan of the idea. I think we can meet all of her nutritional with natural, unprocessed foods. 

When did you introduce food to your baby? Did you make your own baby food? What do you think of baby-led weaning?

6 comments:

  1. A lot of Paleo women start their babies out on egg yolks and meat. Some are really hardcore and go for raw liver and such but that's a little much for me. I think ground beef would be a good beginners food. The bits are small enough not to choke on and they can practice grabbing.

    I'm still pregnant so I'm not sure what we'll end up doing yet. But eating meat seems to solve the "iron problem" pediatricians are soooo concerned about.

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  2. I am a big fan of BLW (as you already know, since I have waxed eloquent about it on numerous occasions ;-) ), but I will admit that if your objective is to get as much solid food into your baby as soon as possible, BLW is probably not the best strategy. It is a slow process, and depending on the baby, it can take MONTHS before the baby is actually ingesting any appreciable quantity of food.

    Oliver is 8 1/2 months, we've been at it since five months old, and this is the first week where he has consumed enough solids that there has been a noticeable (about 10 minutes) decrease in his overall daily nursing. It is also the first week where I have been confident enough in his ability to get enough calorically-dense food (i.e. meat/fish/eggs) down his gullet that I can feed him his solids first and nurse him afterwards.

    Perhaps you can do a combination of BLW and conventional feeding: spoon-feed purées at every meal to make sure she's getting some calories from solids, but also give her some bigger pieces of food to taste and play with so that she becomes accustomed to different textures?

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  3. I started my paleo babies out on avocado (no pureeing required! Just mush it up with some water or breastmilk to make it thin). Lots of good fat to help their brains grow! Later, my son LOVED meat, but my daughter didn't so much. It think it was a texture thing. She's still not super into it.

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  4. I had the same HUNGER issues at around 4-5 months with both of my girls. I started with egg yolks, coconut butter, and avocado. It takes a good week for them to "figure out" the whole eating thing to even take enough in to make a difference so I always looked at it like "practice" more than "filling them up". Within a couple weeks it was really helping them sleep better and not be so fussy hungry :) Good for you on no rice cereal. Once I started veggies with the girls I pureed them in bone broth so I figured they were getting enough there. And I started beef roast and chicken purees around 6 months - THEY. LOVED. THAT! :) Both girls are incredible eaters and they BOTH decided then didn't want breastmilk around 10ish months and I started raw milk - not sure if that is paleo for everyone but we all digest it very well and my girls LOVE thier raw milk and raw milk yogurt :)

    Good luck! Have fun! I LOVE seeing their little faces!!!
    Renee
    rkohley@gmail.com

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  5. If adding foods doesn't seem to help with sleep and satiating what seems to be hunger, you might want to explore food intolerances (wee ones can be sensitive to foods in our milk). My 4-year-old did not sleep well as a baby. She wasn't "colicky" or too fussy, but she certainly had issues going to sleep, staying asleep and nursing a lot. It turned out that she was intolerant of eggs, gluten and garlic (though we didn't figure it out until we had lost a lot of sleep and she was nearly 2. She nursed a lot at night, not because she was hungry, but likely because her stomach was out of sorts. Once we removed those foods, she started sleeping through the night without a fuss or peep. We figured out gluten and garlic early on, but egg only through testing (and that was the end of sleep issues). My diet is much more limited now and my second baby sleeps really well (for now--never say that phrase too loudly!). She also doesn't need to comfort suck as much (which drove me batty!).

    That aside--food is such fun! I had a lot of fun pureeing everything the first time around, but well, by the second, there's no time for that! Straight off the plate it will have to be! I second the bone broth suggestion--use that to thin sweet potato or mash avocados--just make your own with really basic ingredients. Looking forward to pictures of the fun!

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  6. Ok, I'm nearly at this point. I have never had a paleo baby. I've had a paleo toddler, my 3 yr old. We started primal/paleo when he was around 14 months. I have a just turned 4 month old baby girl. She'll be my paleo baby!! I'm EXCITED .... going off the "beaten path" so to speak.. nobody in my life is primal except for my little family. we're not doing cereals either. I love the avocado idea from the commenter above! I'm a little nervous, too. hope she does well. I LOVE that munchkin fresh food feeder!! I also love the mash/serve bowl and the baby food grinder. it's all by munchkin. LOVE. little elbow power puts those to work. also, we have a bullet! SO EXCITED to start using that for baby food!!

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